“Tieton From Hatton Road Looking Northeast”

Bill Perdue

William Brennan Perdue was born in Salinas California to Hannah Elizabeth (Barnes) Perdue and Fred Perdue on May 19, 1939. The name William was for his uncle William Kelley of Oketo, Kansas and the name Brennan was for his grandmother’s maiden name on his father’s side, Mary Brennan. Throughout his life he was known by his nick name Bill or Billy or his surname by friends and family. However, as an adult he executed correspondence and contracts as W. B. Perdue.

Bill’s father and mother met in early morning on Broadway Street in the small Midwest town of Marysville, Kansas. Hannah, known to all as Lizzie was working as a night clerk in a small hotel boarding house and had stepped out onto the entry step for a breath of cool early morning air. Down the street from the tavern that had just closed for the night came Fred Perdue his jacket thrown over his shoulder and giving visible evidence of navigational problems.

As Fred approached the entry area where Lizzie stood, he took the jacket from his shoulder and with some difficulty spread it on the walk near where she stood. Having the jacket appropriately spread Fred staggered back from the Jacket a couple of paces and announces to all in ear shot, “I’m going to whip the first son-of-a-bitch that steps on that jacket!”

Fred was a local boxer and was said to hold the professional heavy-weight title for the States of Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska and was known everywhere regionally for his boxing skills and his capacity for drink. He was not likely to find anyone to accept his open invitation to fight that dark sultry night. However, he failed to reckon with the young girl minding her own business having a breath of the evening air. The temptation was too much, Lizzy jumped from the step square in the middle of the jacket. From that first step to her last she would try to control the rough independent spirit that was Bill’s dad, but in the end she would fail.

Lizzie’s family had come first to Oketa, Kansas a few miles north and east of Marysville nearly on the Nebraska line. Lizzie had been born and raised out in south central Franklin, Nebraska and had come to Marysville to work as a teenager when she met Fred. Neither Lizzie nor Fred pursued their high school education; in fact, most of their school mates in the twenties and thirties saw little value in continuing their education. Lizzie had come to Marshall County to be near her half-sister who lived in Oketa.

Fred was nearly six foot two inches tall and weighed nearly two hundred and twenty pounds. From the day his mother died when he was ten, he had lived on a farm between Waterville and Blue Rapids, Kansas and had worked hard from day-break to dark. He was strong and living with his five brothers and his dad idle time was spent fighting both with and without boxing gloves. At the age of thirteen and already at full height of six foot two inches Fred left home for Arkansas where an older brother was living.

Immediately upon arriving in Arkansas he lied about his age and obtained a license to be a boxer. It is said he fought eighty-nine professional boxing matches in his carrier and the other fights were too numerous to account. Lizzie would say he would sometime come home in the early morning after a night of drinking and fighting and only be recognizable by his voice his face being so badly bruised and bloodied.

Fred and Lizzie had been married in the heart of the great American Depression in the spring of 1934 and had move by 1938 from Marshall County Kansas to Salinas, California with two small children in tow. In May 1939 they welcomed Bill to the family.

W. B. Perdue, Circa Age 70 when the Second World War approached Fred was drafted into the service of his country. The draft notice was for him to report to the draft board in Marshall County Kansas for assignment as a purchasing agent of hardwood timber. He ignored the notice until an agent of the government approached him one day while he was on a tractor harvesting a lettuce field outside of Salinas. It was explained to him that his choices were limited either serve as ordered or be confined until the government decided to set him free. He chose to serve and returned to Marshall County Kansas.

Bill’s father traveled the states of Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Iowa in search of standing Black Walnut trees from which the government would make gun stocks. Although his wage was the same as a private in the army, he had special privileges including new cars, new trucks, no ration on rubber and gasoline. His work took him away from the home he and Lizzie had established in Marysville where she cared for the family and did odd jobs to supplement the family income.

Bill’s first recollection of life was living with his mother, sister Mary and bother Fred Jr. in a sandstone house on the west banks of the Blue River near an existing grist mill powered initially by water from the Blue River. When Bill was old enough to attend school, the family move to Jenkins Street in Marysville and Bill began school at Lincoln Elementary School pictured below.

Photo shows Lincoln Elementary School in Marysville Kansas between Laramie St. and Calhoun St. facing on N. 15th. Bill (1944 K through all but three months of the second grade), Mary and Fred Perdue all began school in this building in the 1940s. It is believed the building has now been torn down and the location has become a park.

The family purchased a small lot on the far south side of Maryville in circa 1945 before the end of the Second World War. The house shown below was small by any measure having two rooms, a kitchen and living room on the first level and a bedroom on the second level.

Marysville, Kansas often finds itself in the path of tornadoes and the house was accompanied by a root cellar detached from the house that during storms the family would descend to. The house was the last house on the street south of it was timber and pasture land and west was the Big Blue River less than a mile away.

The house shown is the house on S. 6th Street in Marysville, Kansas that Elizabeth and Fred Perdue lived in with their four children, Pat (borne December 1945), Bill, Fred and Mary when they departed for Washington State in March of 1947. The photo appears to have been taken decades after the 1940s.

The Blue River often would flood and the family could find up to thirty inches of water in the first level during a flood. Someone had notched the front door housing to show the multiple levels of past floods. Bill remembers experiencing only one flood, remembers the water in the living room being approximately thirty inches deep and having to spend a week or more with an aunt in Oketa until the river returned to its banks. Although this new location was fun being close to the country it was a long fourteen block hike to school one way.

Bill’s mother found that Bill’s dad had a girlfriend in Hiawatha, Kansas and to separate the two of them she offered him the option of going west to the state of Washington where other members of her family lived. To his credit he took the option and hated every day he would spend in the State of Washington.

The family sold the little shack pictured above and packed all that they had including a ninety-pound collie dog and started west. It was tight for the six passengers and the dog in the family’s 1935 Chevrolet sedan. There were no overnight accommodations in hotels or motels or meals in cafes or restaurants. Instead the family drove as far as it could without Fred needing to sleep and sleep came with all of them piled in the car. Remember it was March Bill said and out in western Nebraska and Wyoming they would encounter snow and cold. Food was purchased in the form of cans of beans heated in farmer’s fields over make shift fires and slices of baloney on bread purchased along the way. About the only thing regularly store bought was hot coffee for Fred and Lizzy as they drove along.

It was March 17, 1947 when the Perdue family arrived in the Yakima Valley. Lizzie’s brother Alpha Barnes (known to friends and family as Alphie) was the foreman on the large Ralph Sundquist Ranch on the east side of Wilcox Road approximately a half mile east of Naches Heights Road. Bill’s father commenced working for Alphie with the family living in a one room shack or pickers cabin similar to that shown here.

Photo of three pickers cabins similar to Bill’s first home in Washington State.
Photo of three pickers cabins similar to Bill’s first home in Washington State.

The west was dramatically different for the Perdue family. Except for Bill’s father none would ever return to Kansas.

That first home in the west had no furniture save for a wood burning cook stove. The family slept on the wood floors on blankets, took drinking water from the irrigation ditch and made full use of an outhouse out on a nearby butte.

Within just a few weeks Lizzie and her brother Alphie would get into a nasty argument and the Perdue’s would move to an old shack in the southwest quadrant of the intersection of Summitview Extension and Mize Road in the West Valley area of Yakima. Bill remembers it being much like the first cabin shown above but without a floor. Luckily Bill said they only lived there a few months before his dad obtained a year-round job of hired man on the Gordon Malm Ranch on the north side of Sunset Road not far from the west end of the Road.

There the family would live until the spring of 1950 in an old abandon three-room rat-infested house and bring water from a half mile away by cream-can each day for domestic purposes. Fred and Lizzie slept in a bed while Bill and his sibling slept on the floor. The family was poor and living on beans and bread and gravy mostly as Bill would recall later in life. He would often tell stories of the school children, especially girls, making fun of he and his siblings’ clothes and lunches. School lunch was either a piece of Spam or a fried egg between two slices of Lizzy’s homemade bread spread with margarine.

The spring of 1950 found the Perdues living in an abandoned cabin across Sunset Road from Faye Bedard’s family. As soon as crops came on in California and school was out the family was on the road in California and Oregon living out of the car as a transient farm labor family. Bill remembers all of the family trying to sleep in the car when conditions did not allow sleeping on the ground near the car and police coming in the middle of the night shinning flash lights through the car windows. Mostly they ate baloney sandwiches and boiled beans from fires built in parks or fields along the road.

The fall of 1950 found the family returning to Yakima Valley and Fred negotiating a deal with Benton Carey for the use of an old run-down rat-infested house on his property about an eighth of a mile east of Cowiche Rd. N. The deal was the family could live in the house rent free provided that the Carey family had access to the labor of the family (two adults and three children) upon demand. Water was made available by cream can from a quarter of a mile away at the manner house. There were no furnishings save for a wood cook stove, but over time used beds, chairs and tables were given to the family or purchased and the place became home.

The house had a large living room a front bed room, a kitchen and front and back porches. Scabbed on to the southside of the house was an unfinished room that Lizzy converted to a bed room by tacking cardboard from the trash bens of local stores on the exposed studs on the exterior wall of the room. Once the cardboard was tacked to the wall studs Lizzy mixed flour and water to make a paste and papered over the cardboard with old news print given her by a friend. It reduced the cold air from the outside wind getting through cracks but still it and the rest of the house was always cold in winter. Firewood to heat the house was obtained by Bill and his brother Fred that they cut down along the North Fork of Cowiche Creek and hauled by cart a half mile to the house.

Bill would remember and often tell the story of the front bed room leaking where the four children slept four to a standard bed for years. The girls slept at the head of the bed and the boys at the foot of the bed. Bill and his older brother Fred would often joke later in life that they knew their sisters best by the shape of their toes. In the spring snow would melt on the roof and water would run down the north wall during the day and freeze during the night leaving ridges of ice from the ceiling to the floor. Bill said most of the time they would sleep fully dressed.

Bill would often say his life would change from childhood to adult in one single night while living in that old rat-infested cold building. The family had been taken out of school a number of days in addition to the normal school break for apple harvest in that fall of 1951. Lizzy was pregnant and couldn’t work but she got Bill and his bother Fred and sister Mary in the orchard as soon as there was enough light to see the fruit and they worked into the night by the lights of the car Lizzy drove down the apple row. It was cold and rainy some days with sleeting snow Lizzy would build a fire in a fifty-five-gallon drum to dry gloves and old stocking used to keep the fingers warm.

Those long ten to fourteen-hour days took a lot out of everyone but Lizzy it made sick and she was often unable to get out of bed and do chores. By November Bill said he and the rest of the kids were back in school but when they came home Lizzy would teach him how to manage household chores. Lizzy made each of the children promise her that if she were to die that they would go on and finish their high school education and assist the youngest girl, Patricia, if she needed help. She asked Fred to promise the same, a promise he never planned to keep and didn’t.

Bill said he was then in the seventh grade and would complain that his brother Fred and sister Mary weren’t required to be trained. Lizzy explained to Bill that should she died Mary would likely leave home at her age and of the rest of the kids I appeared to be the best suited to cook, sew, wash clothing and perform other domestic duties. In later years Bill would be provided a degree of humor from learning how to mend stockings, and make button holes and sew on buttons, but he said at the time he made his mother’s life miserable complaining.

On November 9th 1951 when Bill and the other children arrived home from school, they found their mother in considerable pain crying and shouting to their dad, “I would rather be dead than to feel this bad, take me to get help!” Lizzy with the help of the kids packed a bag and kissed all good-bye and went with their father to the hospital in Yakima.

At about mid-night Bill said his father Fred returned and woke all of the children to report, “Well your mom had a baby boy who is dead, but your mom is ok.” Bill said all went back to the same bed happy that their mother was going to be fine. At about two hours after midnight November 10, 1951 a car pulled up rapidly on the gravel Livingood Road out in front of the house and Doctor James Zimmerman came to the front door. Bill’s sister Mary let him in and he went straight to the “cardboard bedroom” where Fred slept and, in a few minutes, he was heard to leave.

Fred Perdue came to the door of the bedroom where the kids were all still in bed but wide awake. Standing in the door way of the dark bedroom with the light from the living room silhouetting his six foot two inch frame he announced in a cold steady voice, “Well kids you can stay in bed or you can get up, your mom is dead, we’re all alone now!” Bill would often say that the words would ring true over the years after that as his dad was not a family man and the loneliness of having no family guidance would be present for him from the age of twelve. Bill stated that he had the feeling of being on his own from that night on.

Fred kept the family together even in the face of Lizzie’s family wanting to separate Bill and the rest of the kids. Bill would say that the situation the four living siblings found themselves in would drive them close together and bond them for the rest of their lives.

Fred immediately called for his old girlfriend, Maida Smith, in Kansas to come out and live with the family. Eventually they married but she caused massive disruption by destroying all memorabilia of Lizzy and forcing Bill’s older sister Mary out of the home to find employment as a teenage maid so she could work her way through high school. Mary would never marry and worked as a maid all of her active working years while tending to the needs of her siblings.

Bill attended kindergarten through most of the second grade while living in Marysville, Kansas. When he arrived in March of 1947, he began to attend the newly formed Highland School District which in 1944 consolidated the former school districts of Tieton, Cowiche and Marcus-Whitman on Naches Heights. His second and third grade found him in the large red block Tieton Elementary School Building. He attended his fourth, fifth and six grades at Cowiche Elementary in the old rock school house he was later to work in as a janitor and was back in Tieton for Junior High, grades seventh and 8th. The old Junior High Building in Tieton has been raised at this writing but the old school building in Cowiche although no longer used as a school still stands at the time of this interview.

Beginning in Junior High Bill said he became active in sports including boxing, football, basketball and baseball. His vision being poor he was not to excel in any of the sports he participated in but he did manage to Capitan the high school football team his senior year in high school and named on the third all-valley team even though injured his senior year and participated in only two games.

One of the stories of his youth which Bill enjoyed telling was the summer of 1955 when he, Fred, his brother, and neighbor Harold Stone, also a classmate, were working an apricot orchard along N. Cowiche Road. At a break in work Bill sat on the step of a ladder and answered his brother’s question, “What are you going to do once you finish high school?”

Bill said he had thought about that same question nearly from the date his mother had died and he had it all ‘fixed’ in his head and he thus explained to his brother sitting relaxing on the top step of his ladder. “Well”, Bill said, “I am going to: get a job where I have to wear a suit and white shirt to work, make more than thirty thousand dollars per year, travel all over the world and marry Janice Smith.”

The way Bill tells the story is that his brother damn near fell off his ladder laughing saying, “I don’t doubt the first three but I am here to tell you Janice Smith ain’t giving you the time of day let alone marry you!” Bill said later in life when he and his brother would recall the story both would laughingly agree three out of four wasn’t bad.

Bill reported that growing up in the school district afforded him ample work to earn money to help the family and to pay for his high school education. He worked five years for the school district starting at age 14 as a janitor from 1954 to 1959

This photo is of the Cowiche Central School. The taller portion was constructed in 1911 while the rear block portion was constructed in circa 1917. This photo was taken after the Catholic Diocese of Yakima purchased the building and converted it to a learning center. W. B. Perdue attended the fourth, fifth and sixth grades in the tall portion of the building and was employed as the janitor for the tall portion at age 14 while a student in high school.

A new school building replacing the one shown above was constructed on Thompson Rd in 1956 where Bill worked while still in high school and later for two years while attending Yakima Valley Community College. The school district tried to continue the program of student janitors after Bill left in 1959, but eventually gave it up for lack of student interest in work.

Bill attended Yakima Valley College in Yakima, Washington from 1957 to 1959 and went on to attend Washington State Univerity from 1959 to 1961 graduating with a Bachlor’s Degree in Business in May of 1961.

Above and beyond Bill’s education that he gained in the early years of his life were the life long friendships he made with people. He kept track of all who graduated high school with him for the rest of his life and would often hold informal mini reunions with many high school friends over the years. His closest personal friend was Vincent J. Philbrik. The two of them live together while Bill attended school in Pullman, Washington.

Over the years Bill became close to the Philbrick family including Vincent’s mother and father. Knowing the financial condition under which Bill existed as a child Vincent Philbrick parents would go on to loan Bill money to buy car licenses and loans for college tuition. During the summer while Vincent was serving his responsibilities to the Navy in 1958 and 1959 Bill slept in a horse stall at the Vetinary Clinic where Jim’s father was employed.

Vincent Philbrick went on and had a career in medicine as a doctor in California. Doctor Vincent Philbrick and Bill remained life long friend and Bill would often say he was both a friend and bother and his parent more like a mother and father to me. Bill said the two of them would inspire each other throughout their lives.

Another inspiration for Bill was a high school classmate by the name of Janice Smith. They became close friends in high school and remain close their entire lives. Janice was to have a career in teaching and married her high school sweetheart, Ben Colwell. She had once written Bill a hand written note saying, “…sincerely I’ve enjoyed you a whole lot. You’ve got something most people don’t … Billy go to college, you’ve got what it takes and if you try (really) you will be bound to hit the top of the heap.” Because of Bill’s love and respect for her such a message meant a lot. He said he would often in later years think back to the inspiration gained from his relationship with her.

At the time there was “no way in hell” as Bill put it that he could have gotten a college education. In fact he often told a story of Benton Carey and his son Tom Carey laughing at him when he said he was going on to college after high school. They were right in laughing for they knew full well Bill could not afford a college education.

Following college graduation Bill found himself deep in dept to Vincent Philbrik’s dad and to his uncle Edward in Kansas. Immediately upon graduation Bill moved to Seattle and took a Job with the aerospace firm, Boeing, as a material analyst on various military missile programs. The assignment was difficult because it required he be dressed in a business suit, dress shirt and tie at work. All he had was a suit his sister Mary had purchased for him for high school at that stage, but he made it due until he could purchase additional clothing to wear.

In the late spring of 1962 an opportunity was offered to Bill to work for Boeing on the Saturn V moon rocket program first in Huntsville, Alabama and then New Orleans, Louisiana. The offer came with a raise in pay plus perdium of sixteen dollars a day for ninety to one hundred twenty days spent in Huntsville before moving on to New Orleans. Bill saw the perdium as pocket money to be saved and used to liquidate his college debt. In late July early August Bill drove to Huntsville, Alabama to take up the new job.

The new assignment was exciting he said to be part of a program to take men to the moon and return them safely to earth was larger than life for him. After about three months he was assigned the procurement responsibility for the retro-rocket of the first stage of the rocket assembly. The retro-rockets located around the periphery of the first stage being design to ignite in unison when the vehicle reached “near space” separating the first stage from the upper stages and allowing the first stage to drop back to earth. In the assignment he was able to meet top scientists in industry and as he would say to see truly exquisite minds at work saying he would often go to meetings and only understand the words, “hi” and “good bye!”

To cut costs single young men like Bill would move in with other singles. When Bill moved to New Orleans he in fact lived in a multi bedroom apartment at first with three other co-workers at Boeing. The apartment complex covered a city block near the Mississippi River and had a court yard with swimming pools and other amenities. The management would throw a bash monthly where all were invited to share in the roasting of a pig or steer. The facility did not allow children nor married couples. The facility was called Studio Arms III and catered to young people who had grown up in New Orleans and towns throughout Louisiana.

One can imagine in such an environment there was ample opportunity to party and meet young single females. Bill did not have the capacity to date much in school but now in New Orleans things were different. He now had money, nice clothes and a new car.

At holiday periods the complex was nearly empty as the young people would return home to visit parents and other relatives. As Bill would say, “The pickins diminished at Thanksgiving and Christmas.” At Thanksgiving time 1962 it was concluded that something needed to be done to take up the slack and so it was decided to offer Thanksgiving dinner to the four nurses from Canada that were sharing an apartment, surely they were not going home for Thanksgiving. It was Bill who proposed the idea for his roommates and he lead the hosting committee to the nurses apartment to make the offer. The offer was that Bill and his roommates would buy all the food and liquor needed and the girls could prepare the dinner in either apartment. Any dishes or cooking apparatus needed was to be furnished by the men.

The nurses loved the idea but there was a problem, all four of them were working Thanksgiving day at the Oshsner Medical Center not far from the apartment complex. It is a world famous medical center for the rich in the south and people living in the Caribbean and in Latin, Central and South America. The nurses did have a four hour window Thanksgiving Day when they were all home at which time they would enjoy a meal. So Bill and his roommates arranged for Thanksgiving dinner with Bill roasting the turkey and doing most of the cooking. It was at that dinner Bill came to know his future wife, Joan Betty Vaage, from Alberta, Canada.

New Orleans was an interesting and fun place to live for Bill but he found the heat and high humidity was a hazard to his health. Bill had Asama and the environment exasperated that conditions. Doctors recommend Bill leave the area to improve his health and in August 1963 he terminated employment with Boeing said good-bye to Joan and headed for an interview with a manufacturer in Burbank, California. On the way Bill overnighted in Ft. Worth Texas and saw an advertisement for buyers at General Dynamics on the first variable winged military aircraft, the model F-111. He arranged for an interview and was offered a job if the interview in Burbank, California did not work out. It didn’t and by the end of September Bill was at work with General Dynamics in Ft. Worth.

By fall of 1963 Bill had invited Joan to come to Ft. Worth and work. They would marry the following November in Joan’s home town of Provost, Albert, Canada. Joan worked at Harris Hospital in Fort Worth and later when Bill became employed at Texas Instruments Inc. outside of Dallas Joan worked at Baylor University Hospital in Dallas. It was there that Jim Perdue, there first child was borne in December 1965. The following year Boeing came to Dallas on a recruiting tour and Bill applied to return to Boeing Seattle.

Back in Seattle in June of 1966 Bill found himself at Boeing as a purchasing specialist on Boeing’s Super Sonic Transport (SST) program responsible for engine coordination with General Electric in Evendale, Ohio and Rohr Corporation in Chula Vista, California for the engine cowling. During this assignment Bill became friends with William McCoy best known at Boeing at the time as a neighbor and friend of T. A. Wilson Boeing’s Chairman of the Board and President.

When the federal government decided to cancel the SST program massive layoffs of employees occurred at Boeing. Even though he survived the layoffs Bill was reassigned to the Boeing 747 project procuring various production components. He began searching for other employment that would take him away from the boredom of production buying. Out of the blue he received a call from his old friend Bill McCoy asking about coming to work for him as Materiel Manager in a new company Boeing was organizing called Boeing Aerosystems International headed up by a person named, Howard Phelps, who would become a close friend of Bill’s over time.

Bill took the assignment of Material Manager in the Customer Support Division at Boeing in the early 1970. It involved a major promotion for him jumping over two or three levels of management to the new position.

Included in the assignment not only was the function of normal Material Management but also management of the Boeing Aerosystems Purchasing Agency for the new Boeing Aerosystems International Company headed up by Howard Phelps. In the capacity of the latter Bill said his organization purchased all manner of things for foreign customers of Boeing from advertising in the New York Times to the purchase of school buses and aircraft components.

The new assignment began three plus decades of extensive foreign travel for Bill both in his work for Boeing and when he later would go into business for himself. Bill’s father often would say of another, “The reason he doesn’t know anything is because he hasn’t been anywhere.” It is true that much can be learned through travel. Bill’s career took him to over sixty countries and protectorate to which some he travel multiple time. The list of some are provided below:


Algeria, Argentina, Bahréin, Bolivia, Brasil, Canadá, Chile, China, Colombia, Demark ,Dominican Republic, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Great Brittan, Greece, Haiti, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Liberia, Mexico, Netherlands, Panama,
Palestine, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Sudan, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Trinidad, Tunisia, United Kingdom, Vatican City, Venezuela, Zambia, Zimbabwe


Bermuda (UK protectorate)
Guadeloupe (France protectorate)
Hong Kong (UK protectorate, now part of PRC)
Puerto Rico (United States protectorate)

The extensive foreign travel involved visiting many of the major cities in the listed locations above. He would seldom include his family in his travels but did take them on vacations to the Holy Land and to Europe. Bill said the advantage to business travel was that clients would take the time to show you around, but when they didn’t likely as not, he would rent a car and have a driver give him a tour of the city or area he was in. Only once did he travel around the world on a single trip.

When asked what states he had visited in the United State he stated he had never been to Michigan, Indiana, Rhode Island, New Hampshire or Maine. While he most enjoyed Washington D. C., he believed the state he had visited most frequently was Florida. He estimated that he had been to the Capital over twenty-five times and often for extended periods and in Miami, Florida too many times to remember.

The assignment of Material Manager opened Bills eye to the opportunity of going into business for himself. In that position Bill was responsible for acquiring all maintenance data for the Boeing fleet which gave him insight in the commercial aircraft spare business. In fact, Boeing Spares operated in the same division. The airline customers called for Bill’s group to first search for used items before purchase of the more expensive newly manufactured items thus showing him how the airlines operated and their needs.

In early 1974 a major management change came in the Boeing Division in which Bill found himself. The change did not impact Bill or his organization but it put him reporting to a man by the name of Marion McClung, a man that Bill did not like and whom he did not respect. Bill quit Boeing and started out on his own.

Bill said he had experience and knowledge but no money to start a business. However, a group knowing Bill’s back ground came to him and offered to start a company based in Seattle doing essentially what Bill had been doing for the purchasing agency at Boeing except now he would not be an agent adding a fee for services he would be locating and selling spare parts out right to the airline both foreign and domestic. Bill was given twenty five percent ownership in the new firm which was called TREW Aviation.

TREW Aviation became a very successful firm making both it and a related company in Miami millions of dollars. Bill found himself in Miami frequently to show his other stock holders how to use maintenance data to make money and how to computerize their existing operations. The harmony and trust reached the point that Bill’s fellow shareholders offered him ten percent of their other business in Miami while retaining TREW Aviation under Bill’s control. The offer required Bill to relocate his family in Florida, to which he refused.

Thus, in May of 1980 Bill sold his interest in Trew Aviation to his fellow shareholders and with the money started a similar company names Sonico Inc. Now he had total control as one hundred percent of the shares of Sonico Inc. were held by the Perdue family.

It was shortly after the start of Sonico Inc. in Kent, Washington that Bill went to Moses Lake, Washington and leased a hangar and begun to purchase used serviceable aircraft and dismantle them for parts. The aircraft all were flown to Moses Lake and dismantled save for one model DC8-50 parted out at Love Field in Dallas.

A major expense in the business had begun to be cost of repairing the parts removed from the dismantled aircraft. So, Bill started a company called WINAIR Inc. to repair components and because he had no experience in FAA Repair Stations, he brought in a fellow by the name of John Titus to help with repairs. That was a mistake, Titus’ morals and ethics did not fit well with Bill and he had WINAIR dissolved within eighteen months.

Following the breakup of WINAIR and learning there was no magic in operating an FAA Repair Station. Bill applied for and received an FAA license to repair parts at the Sonico Moses Lake facility, www.sonicoinc.com. Ultimately Bill moved the entire operations to Moses Lake.

In the course of operating a repair station Sonico Inc. joined the national association of repair stations called Aeronautical Repair Station Association (ARSA) out of Alexandria, Virginia. Sonico has been a member of ARSA for more than three decades now and Sonico’s president was a member of the Association’s board.

Bill and others approached ARSA to devise an answer to the demands of manufacturers that repair stations have product liability insurance as a prerequisite for acquiring the data necessary to maintain components on aircraft. ARSA was instrumental in the start of an Insurance Company called
Aviation Alliance Insurance Risk Retention Group, Inc. (AAIRRG). Bill was a founding member of the Company when they first met in Chicago in 2005 and remained on the board for many years serving as president from 2010 to 2016 when he retired.

Bill is still active in aviation and with Sonico Inc. www.sonicoin.com. He lives in Bellevue, Washington in the home pictured below and is linked electronically to his office in Moses Lake and frequently travels there.

Perdue home since 1976 at 2500 130th Ave. N. E. Bellevue WA.

When asked what he thought was the most positive thing to have happened to him in life he said, “Breaking the bondage of poverty.” And when asked what was the most negative thing that had happen to him, he stated, “The death of my daughter, Karen, in a traffic accident at age twenty-two.”

Bill remembers having high hopes as a kid and often recalls his four point forecast in the apricot orchard in 1955 and in closing ask that we print the following poem as he remembers the dirt floors of childhood homes, the rat-infested places he lived as a child and the cold winters cutting firewood down along the North Fork of Cowiche Creek.

“Over The Rainbow”

Somewhere over the rainbow, way up high,
There’s a land that I heard of once in a lullaby,
Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue,
And the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.

Someday I’ll wish upon a star,
And wake up where the clouds are far behind me,
Where troubles melt like lemon drops,
Away above the chimney tops,
That’s where you’ll find me.

Somewhere over the rainbow, bluebirds fly,
Birds fly over the rainbow,
Why, then, oh, why can’t I?

If happy little bluebirds fly,
Beyond the rainbow,
Why, oh, why can’t I?

In proofing the text of this article Bill was to say, “I owe a debt of thanks to Janice and Jim for the inspiration to try.”


There were six children Born to Lizzy and Fred Perdue.

Linda Lou Perdue: (May 12, 1949 to May 22, 1949) died after ten days because of pneumonia. Bill always blamed her death on being poor and being unable to obtain medical service.

Lizzy Perdue: (September 4, 1915 to November 10, 1951) Lizzy is reported to have died from bleeding to death while giving birth. Bill attributed her death to the lack of medical care during pregnancy due to poverty. At the time of death, she was working part time in the orchards of Cowiche and Tieton, Washington and maintaining a home for her family.

Michael Perdue: (November 9, 1951, stillbirth)

Fred Perdue: (April 4, 1908 to October 25, 1963) died of a heart attack while driving with his third wife just north of the village of Summerfield, Kansas. The wife managed to stop the car prior to an accident but Fred was pronounced dead at the scene. At the time of his death Fred was operating a business out of Marysville, Kansas buying and selling Black Walnut timber in the states of Kansas and Missouri.

Fred E. Perdue: (August 24, 1937 to December 11, 2007) died of heart disease and diabetes. He had promised his mother he would finish high school and upon graduation he spent three years in the Marine Corps. After his military service he returned to the Yakima Valley and married his high school sweetheart and from that union came one son. He worked over three decades at Boise Cascade Lumber Company in Yakima, Washington where he was employed as foreman in the firm’s plywood factory.

Mary M. Perdue: (July 24, 1935 to January 14, 2013) left home as a teenager and worked as a maid for three dollars a week and room and board for a family in West Valley of Yakima. She too kept her promise to her mother and finished high school. After high school she took a job for the Stephen B. Moser family in Yakima as maid and family caretaker. She maintained that job for well over forty years and when retiring worked at odd jobs with Bill supplementing her income until her death. Mary never married devoting her life to her siblings.

Patricia B. (Perdue) Coleman: (December 20, 1945 to September 3, 2018) left home at approximately 14 and worked as a maid for a family along Ahtanum Creek for five dollar a week and room and board. She too kept her promise to her mother when she graduated from Davis High School in Yakima. She married James Coleman and from that union came one child. Following attendance at Yakima Valley College and other career studies she became the Comptroller for Berkshire Hathaway in Yakima, Washington.

W. B. Perdue Family: The family of W. B. Perdue consists of Bill, Joan his wife, James F. Perdue their son who is President of Sonico Inc. www.sonicoinc.com and Karen C. Perdue, deceased. The family has a burial plot of four graves at Sunset Hills Cemetery in Bellevue, Washington where Karen C. Perdue has been laid to rest. It is anticipated Joan and Bill one day will join her at that location.

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